FORT LEE, N.J. — Thousands of commuters found themselves stuck in nightmarish traffic leading onto the George Washington Bridge from Fort Lee, N.J., last September, in a burgeoning scandal that has rankled the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
To get a better sense of what the residents of Fort Lee and surrounding communities faced when trying to get to New York, I asked Harvey Sohmer, a member of the Fort Lee borough council, for a typical route through the borough.
Fort Lee is a relatively small municipality, at only 2.88 square miles. Sohmer suggested I travel along Route 67, one of the main drags for Fort Lee residents making their way to the bridge. The route he suggested was just more than 3.5 miles, and it took no more than five minutes to make it to the access lanes that led onto the bridge back to New York.
But as Ila
Kasofsky, a longtime member of the borough’s council, told me on Monday, five minutes in normal traffic (in this case, around 4:30 p.m. on a Monday) “became an hour, if you’re lucky,” when two of the bridge’s three access lanes were closed in September. Sohmer said that traffic on some roads, including Route 67, was backed up more than two to three miles in certain cases.
Here are a couple shots of “normal” traffic on Monday:
The route then takes you to the now-infamous access lanes, two of which were closed back in September. You can see how closing two of them would be an absolute nightmare:
Once you get on, it’s smooth sailing, as the video below shows. But Kasofsky said that if you looked at the bridge back in September, all you’d see is a “sea of cars.”
“I’ve been here since 1954,” Sohmer added, “and I’ve never seen anything even close to it.”
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